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UN-REDD at the REDD+ Governance Workshop in Oaxaca

The UN-REDD Programme roundtable at the Oaxaca Workshop on Forest Governance, Decentralization and REDD+ on 31 August gathered more than 100 participants to examine the emerging challenges and opportunities for governance for REDD+ in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Moderated by Alberto Sandoval,  from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ,  the roundtable started with a presentation by Yemi Katerere, Head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat. Dr. Katerere underlined the importance of transformational change in actors and institutions involved in REDD+ and that approaches to tackling drivers of deforestation and forest degradation must be comprehensive. Katerere also highlighted that it is critical to define who the actors of deforestation are, be they small farmers or large logging companies, in order to tailor an inclusive approach and provide access to information and participation in policy design and implementation.

From left to right: Yemi Katerere, UN-REDD Programme; Tuukka Castren, World Bank; Estelle Fach, UN-REDD Programme; Marco Chíu, Ministry of Environment, Ecuador; Mariana Pavan, Institute for Conservation and Sustainable Development of Amazonas, IDESAM

Estelle Fach, from the United Nations Development Programme, outlined the UN-REDD Programme’s support to building and strengthening national governance systems for REDD+ that are transparent, effective and inclusive. This area of work, she noted, builds on existing activities by the Programme on stakeholder engagement and UNDP’s Latin America programme on local governance (e.g. on decentralization and institutional reform of the justice sector). Country-led multi-stakeholder assessments conducted by a partnership of civil society and governments allow countries to evaluate the priorities for governance for REDD+ in a participatory and transparent process. “The take home message is that the very way these assessments are conducted can initiate the demand for accountability within a country,” Fach concluded. 

Tuuka Castren, from the World Bank, pointed out that in the past 10 years, forest governance has focused on reducing illegal logging, and has done so in a successful manner. Citing recent regional ministerial processes and declarations in other continents, he noted that recognizing the issue is the first step in addressing REDD+ governance. He added that efforts should rest on existing and ongoing initiatives, and highlighted the World Bank’s efforts in Central and South America on forest law enforcement and governance. “We do not have to start from scratch”, Castren concluded, adding that, “working on robust implementation of the existing commitments to improve forest governance will be key.”

Marco Chíu, from the Government of Ecuador, discussed his country’s approach to governance for REDD+, using UNDP’s framework of legality, legitimacy and participation. Chíu described institutional arrangements and a process of stakeholder involvement currently under development that includes information, consultations, engagement and capacity building. He noted challenges in defining processes for decision-making that balance urgency and consultation and ensure legitimacy, building and maintaining trust and adequate platforms to secure long-term processes.

More than 100 participants participated in the UN-REDD Progreamme roundtable discussion on 31 August at the Oaxaca Workshop on Forest Governance, Decentralization and REDD+.

Mariana Pavan, from Institute for Sustainable Development and Conservation of Amazonas, Brazil (IDESAM) first underlined the need for involvement of local governments in the design and implementation from the beginning, in order to decentralize decision making and complement existing policies. She highlighted that participation of civil society in the design, implementation and monitoring allows countries to make the most of existing expertise, and insisted on the need to understand REDD+ as part of, but not the only tool, towards economic development. 
For the remaining hour of the roundtable discussion, 10 ten break-out groups examined three central REDD+ governance issues:

Achieving synergies between policies related to REDD+, such as decentralization, forest reform, and tenure.  and REDD+ implementation :  It was generally agreed that REDD+ must be integrated in national development plans and that policies between different levels of government must be aligned from the onset, and aligned with financial flows. The role of co-benefits and poverty alleviation were emphazised, and many concurred that governance reform is much broader and longer term than immediate REDD+ policies.

Examining who are the actors of governance for REDD+, participants highlighted the role the state and sub-national governments need to play, while noting their responsibility to engage and stimulate the participation of property rights owners as well as land users, cooperatives, NGOs, indigenous communities and different ministries.  Effective communciation mechanisms that incenticize the participation of Indigenous Peoples clearly defined mandates for each institution ; relying on and strenghtening existing human and technical capacities were often highlighted.

On ensuring transparency and accountability, recommendations included  the recogniton and clarification of all possible conflicts of interest; a clear definition of roles between the state,  municipal and indigenous governments; independent observers and an inter-sectorial and independent audit; a clear and complete political and legal framework; similar levels of access for all to experts and information; a open national database;  and a knowledge management system to evaluate, disseminate and integrate feedback.  Suggestions on what to monitor included the extent of local participation, representation of communities and land owners, and open spaces for consultations. Multi-stakeholder mechanism will ensure an independent and cost-effective monitoring, as long as indicators are  clear and defined collectively, it was noted.

Overall REDD+ was seen as an instrument to achieve governance improvements. Participants agreed that there is no one "single recipe", and operational answers will have to be developed nationally, yet the rich discussions between government representatives, research institutions, advocacy NGOs and multilateral platforms have already delineated common and useful guiding principles for REDD+ governance.

Read a detailed report of the roundtable discussion.

In this issue


Indonesia’s National REDD+ Strategy

MRV Training for REDD+ Remote Sensing Tools in Tanzania

Mexico Launches its REDD+ Website

Reminder: Register for Forest Day 4
Features & Commentary

Making REDD+ Work for Biodiversity and Livelihoods By: Wahida Patwa-Shah & Julie Greenwalt (With contributions from Lera Miles)

UN-REDD and FCPF Joint Mission in Republic of Congo By: Pacifique Mukumba Isumbisho
Reports & Analysis

UN-REDD at the REDD+ Governance Workshop in Oaxaca
Looking ahead

20th Session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO)
4 - 8 October 2010, Rome, Italy

UNFCCC Climate Change Negotiations
4 - 9 October 2010, Tianjin, China

Interim REDD+ Partnership Workshop
2 October 2010, Tianjin, China

18 - 29 October 2010, Nagoya, Japan
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